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jacken around 10-19-2008 10:47 PM

Bridle issues
hi all,
having issues with my new Quarter horse Gelding he absolutely hates me putting the bridle on. he is not head shy in the least and i can touch him anywhere on his head without a problem until i have the bridle in my hand, as soon as i start to slip it past his nose the head flys up and he backs up so i cant reach him. then he will put his head down really low it's quite frustrating that i have to go through this for about five minutes everytime i put it on.
any suggestions..

NorthernMama 10-19-2008 10:57 PM

Well, the short and simple answer is to first find out why he does it... is it pain? is it habit? is it precognition of riding and pain? is it the way you hold it? is it fear? is it how fast you bring it on? I guess the first thing I would look at would be the behavior while the bridle is on to try to determine if the bit or bridle is causing any discomfort. Probably a process of elimination to find the cause.

My horses have always come to get their bridle, but I sneaked the training on them. As soon as they take the bit and I have the headstall over an ear, they get a treat. Every time, forever and ever. If someone else bridles and forgets the treat, my older, settled horse will nuzzle and nuzzle until she gets her treat!

Wallaby 10-20-2008 11:18 PM

What kind of bit are you using?
At my camp, where I care for 12 horses every summer, there was a gelding (my favorite) that would violently pull back everytime we walked up to him with the bridle in our hands. It turns out that he really needed to be ridden in a snaffle covered in rubber when we were trying to stick a curb in his mouth. :shock:

jacken around 10-20-2008 11:38 PM

i ride him in an eggbutt snaffle

equineangel91 10-21-2008 07:50 PM

Well i dont know how long the problem has been going on, but could it be the cold. IS the bit cold? warm it up nicely in your hands or your horse will hate it =P lol

if thats not the case...
CHeck the bridle fit. Is anything too tight? is anything too loose and rubbing? check every little thing. Smell the bit...does it smell like it might have been toched by something nasty tasting? Does the bit pinch anywhere in the mouth? if it fits improperly it may cause discomfort. Make sure that its a perfect fit

If you bridlle fits perfectly and there is no porblem with the bit at all....
do not tolerate this behavior. Use a lead rope on the horse's poll to encourage him to bring his head down and not snap it up. If he refuses to open for the bit, place a finger in his mouth, he'll open, horses think human hands taste gross LOL

youll have to find out if this is a pain thing or a discomfort thing..or just a bad behavior.

please, get back with some more information, and im sure we can all be a lot more helpful

DulysAsset 10-21-2008 07:58 PM

I had this same problem with my first mare, after i made sure that it wasnt anything hurting her and that the bit was the right kind we assumed it was just a bad habit, something her old owners let her get away with . Everytime she refused the bit, i made her take it three or four times, it was a struggle most days, but eventually she learned that it was easier to just take it the first time. it sounds kind of mean i know, and time consuming, but it worked for me !

jacken around 10-22-2008 12:30 AM

yeah h has done it from the first time i have put a bridle on him so i would think it's a bad habit he has been let get away with. i think i might do that though keep putting it on and of although that is going to take a while ha ha thanks for your suggestions

luvs2ride1979 10-22-2008 11:44 PM


Originally Posted by jacken around (Post 170849)
i ride him in an eggbutt snaffle

Do you or anyone else bang his teeth when the bridle goes in or comes out? When was the last time his teeth were floated? Were his wolf teeth pulled?

If his teeth were floated in the last 6 months and his wolf teeth were removed, then I would try using a flavored happy mouth bit with a roller or french link.
Horse & Rider, ETC.: Happy Mouth Loose Ring Roller Snaffle
HMouth King Dee Double Jointed Roller Mo and King Dees|EQUESTRIAN COLLECTIONS.COM
HMouth Double Jointed Roller Full Cheek and Full Cheek Bits|EQUESTRIAN COLLECTIONS.COM
HM Revolver Loose Ring Snaffle and Loose Ring Bits|EQUESTRIAN COLLECTIONS.COM

These instructions are assuming this is a learned behavior from previous fear or pain from improper bridling techniques. I've used this before on three different horses and it worked like a charm. Before you begin, you need to make sure your horse will calmly and respectfully take a treat from your hand.

Show him the bridle, but don't try and put it on. Instead, just put it over your arm and groom him. Once he's calm, give him a treat. Next hold the bridle against his neck. Just stand patiently until he calms down, then give him another treat. Next hold the bridle against the side of his head. Again, just be patient until he calms down, then give him a treat. Quit for the day with that.

Next day, do the same. Keep doing the above everyday until he's calm for all of it, then try holding against his forehead with the bit hanging below him, but don't put it in his mouth. Give him a treat once he calms down. Now do the above plus the bridle over his head until he's calm, lots of treats ;-).

Now, with the bridle on your arm near his face, but not against it, work on putting your finger or thumb in the corner of his mouth to get him to open it. Put some syrup or honey on your finger so he gets a taste when it goes into the side of his mouth. Once he'll let you do it without tossing his head, give him a treat and quit.

Continue the finger/thumb in the side of his mouth until he'll stand quietly for it.

Now you're ready to try to put it in his mouth. Do as above, holding it over his head. Pull it up gently so the bit is against his teeth, so he can feel the type of material the bit is made of. Treat him for standing quietly. You're next step is to put your thumb/finger in the corner of his mouth to get him to open it. Don't pull the bit in, just have him open his mouth with the bit right there. Treat him for allowing it without flinging his head around. Once he's good, try CAREFULLY sliding the bit in his mouth then letting it carefully drop back out. Treat him for it, even if he didn't stand still that great.

Again, do this daily until he'll let you put the bridle in and out of his mouth. Once he's calm for that, put the bit in and bridle him normally. Give him a treat for being good.

jacken around 10-23-2008 06:05 PM

that sounds really good thanks ill give that a try

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